07 Jan Pandemic – will we need cars any longer?
Now I’ll be talking about cars, or the automotive industry. Since my late teens, I’ve always had a car. I used to spend hours a day in cars commuting between home and work and consuming a lot of side products, like luxurious features or information about the outer world.
A car is a means of transportation, but you end up spending so much time inside that it needs to be at least somewhat comfortable. It also gives you a certain freedom. You can bring all your stuff with you: skis, a suitcase, spare clothes, or shoes for any occasion. In it, you can listen to the music you want, eat lunch, have meetings, go on dates, sleep overnight; your car is your companion, and, of course, a statement of your income.
In some Eastern European countries, the culture is to save up as much money as you can and finally get the most expensive car you can afford to lease or to buy. In other countries, like Germany, cars are almost a religion. They have to be fast and have powerful engines. In the US, there was a huge shift several years ago. Oversized trucks, the kind where you fill up the gas and literally feel it evaporate from the muffler as soon as you turn on the engine, used to be popular. Now it’s cool to own a fully electric Tesla or Toyota.
Now, what has changed? Due to the remote work culture, we spend less and less time in our cars. We’re also rethinking the way we buy cars. There is a strong trend towards online car purchases. This means people are buying cars after some research but without even test-driving them.
We also don’t spend as much on cars anymore, as most of us are working from home now for the next foreseeable future. Why have a luxurious and expensive sports car with five hundred horsepower that doesn’t have a trunk big enough to fit a week’s worth of groceries? Nowadays, it’s all about connectivity, cartainment, and cost-efficiency instead.
This gives us insight about the future of the automotive industry. Your car will become a second home office. You will be able to take calls from it through AR or VR technology while traveling to the mountains to ski or visiting a friend living in a remote location. It should be very fuel-efficient, or even better, a hybrid or electric vehicle that supports longer distances. It should have enough space to carry all your necessary belongings for a few days or weeks.
The new generation of post-covid cars will carry all of these features and more technology than ever before. The whole automotive industry sooner or later has to respond to the drastic change in buyer persona.
A car will not be just a single product that takes you from A to B anymore. A car will become a platform on its own.